February 15, 2010
by Canadian Architect
Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy announced the selection of Zeidler Partnership Architects of Toronto in association with Snøhetta of Oslo, Norway and New York City as the co-architects for Ryerson’s new Student Learning Centre (SLC).
“We are very pleased that these two internationally acclaimed firms have formed a partnership to design Ryerson’s new Student Learning Centre,” said Levy. “In addition to a portfolio of award-winning work, they bring unrivalled knowledge of architectural design, libraries and place-making to a building that will boldly mark Ryerson’s emergence onto Yonge Street.”
The Student Learning Centre will provide Ryerson students with an outstanding environment to study and collaborate, to spark interaction and discovery. It will be a true 21st-century library: welcoming, accessible, comfortable, digitally connected and ready to adapt to new technologies, developments and services.
Added Levy: “I am confident that the Student Learning Centre will be a transformative building for the university and the city. The architects are incredibly creative and look beyond the predictable. They understand the importance of context, and the changing nature of learning. With exciting destination retail at ground level and the energy of thousands of Ryerson students using the rest of the space, the corner of Yonge and Gould Streets will become a dynamic environment that represents city-building at its best.”
The state-of-the-art Student Learning Centre will provide the latest technology and will be designed to accommodate different learning styles and teaching practices. The SLC will feature bright, open, technologically rich, barrier-free spaces for individual and collaborative study. A variety of learning environments, digital support and academic services will promote student learning success and help foster a culture of collaboration and creativity. The Ryerson community – including students – has been and will continue to be involved in defining how best to use the space.
Zeidler, established in Toronto in 1953, has won over 135 national and international awards in recognition of their work, most recently for the Canadian Diplomatic Complex in Seoul, South Korea and the Belleville Public Library.
“This is an opportunity to take a major step towards the vision of Ryerson’s Master Plan. We look forward to creating a meaningful project that will invigorate its context and reinforce the image of Ryerson University as a diverse and connected urban institution,” said Tarek El-Khatib, senior partner, Zeidler.
Snøhetta was formed in 1989 in Oslo, Norway. Their work on the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt was so successful that, eight years after opening, the library began charging admission to deal with its high volume of tourists. The library draws nearly 10,000 visitors a day and was awarded the 2004 Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the 2005 World Architecture Award. Most recently Snøhetta has won commissions for the new James B. Hunt Jr. Library in Raleigh, North Carolina; the new Rockaway Library in New York City; the Ras Al-Khaimah Gateway project in the UAE; and the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at Ground Zero in New York City. Recently, Snøhetta opened the new National Opera House in Oslo, Norway that has since won the World Architecture Award and the Mies van der Rohe European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 2009.
“Learning environments are changing radically and becoming ever more integrated in people’s lives. This particular site at Yonge Street provides the opportunity to make not only a world-class library, but one that can set an example for a new kind of library that connects academic, commercial and public space into a thriving place for social and intellectual activity. We are delighted to work together with Zeidler Partnership Architects and Ryerson University to make this happen,” said Craig Dykers, principal architect and co-founder, Snøhetta.
The SLC will be approximately 160,000 square feet and is estimated at 10 floors above grade level. It will be linked to Ryerson’s existing Library building, and discussions are underway with the TTC to link the SLC to Dundas Station through an on-site subway entrance. The building is also expected to be LEED-compliant, reflecting Ryerson’s long-time leadership in sustainability.
The SLC was made possible by $45 million in funding from the Government of Ontario and is expected to be completed in 2013. The SLC will help Ryerson address the projected growing demand for postsecondary education in the GTA. Ryerson is continuing to experience high levels of demand at both undergraduate and graduate levels.